My new band, Foie Grock

Thank you to everyone who came out to my new band, Foie Grock’s first show. We had a great time and look forward to playing out again. We were also written up in LA Magazine and you can read the full article below.

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We’ve donated the proceeds from the show to our friend Flower and encourage you to help out if you can. Click here to donate in any amount.

Stay tuned for future dates and click here to see a clip from the show.


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Meet Foie Grock: L.A.’s Self-Proclaimed #1 Chef-Led Alternative Rock Cover Band

Duff Goldman, Bruce Kalman, and a few other culinarians start their journey towards rock stardom

For years we’ve said that chefs are the new rock stars. Now, two high-profile local chefs—Duff Goldman, from Charm City Cakes West and Food Network’s Ace of Cakes, and Bruce Kalman, from Union and soon-to-open Knead and Co Pasta Bar—are putting that theory to the test. They’re trying to be actual rock stars—like, with guitars and bright lights and everything. The two started “LA’s #1 chef-led alternative rock cover band,” and it’s called Foie Grock. Because of course it is.

“We tossed around a lot of names,” Kalman says. “Bread Zeppelin. Meatshop Boys. A Flock of Meatballs. Oreo Speedwagon. Limp Brisket.” The food-music puns are endless.

It makes sense, really. A kitchen crew is like a band on so many levels; words like rhythm, harmony, lead, and backup can be used for both. People need to gel in the kitchen, flavors meld on the plate, and it all has to come out pleasing the general public. “I think the bass is like the salt in any dish. The bass brings all the other sounds together. The bass is bridge between rhythm and harmony. It’s the midway point between the drums and the guitar,” says Goldman, who plays bass in the group. He goes on to equate the drums with the protein, the piece everything else is built upon, and the guitar is the sauce. “The bass and the drums make the meat of the dish taste meaty, the guitar gives it the FLAVOR.”

Foie Grock came together rather, um, organically. Kalman and Goldman were standing next to each other at an event, and someone told them they looked like they were in a band. “Well I do sing and play guitar,” Kalman said. “And I play bass,” Goldman replied. And there you have it—magic.

Along with Kalman on lead guitar and vocals and Goldman on bass, the rest of the band includes a few others in the local food world, even if tangentially. Drummer Francis Castagnetti is general manager at Union in Pasadena, and guitarist Ben Offenberg works for Resy, the reservation app. Only Jeff Liffman, who plays keyboards and sings back up vocals, is the professional musician. But he’s a “serious eater” the others say.

Before, or most likely while, the two chefs were coming up in the ranks, both have played instruments for years, even publicly. “I played in a Jersey rock band for awhile,” Kalman says. “We opened for Meatloaf!” Goldman has a more storied past on stage with several Baltimore bands: Big Mama Cotton Crotch; the “post-rock” soihadto; Danger Ice, a psychobilly Elvis cover band; and Two Day Romance, an Emo band that “almost got signed by Sony,” he says. “Thank God we didn’t or I wouldn’t be cooking today.” Two of Goldman’s bands included other chefs he worked with at the time.

“Kitchens and bands are just groups of talented sociopathic individuals all trying to coexist and work towards a common goal. If one guy isn’t doing their job, then the whole group is affected,” Goldman says. “Also, they’re both jobs that you don’t make a lot of money doing, they both have long hours and require years and years of training, and they are both incredibly difficult to get right. They are both jobs that you have to love with deepest part of your soul in order to succeed.”

The group performs hits from bands like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Animals, Foo Fighters, and Black Crows. “Covers, so everyone can sing along, and mostly stuff we listened to in high school and college,” Goldman adds. “The band really wants to play “Lighting Crashes” by Live, but I kinda hate that song.”

You can catch Foie Grock’s first public appearance this week, on Thursday, October 1, at Room 5 in West Hollywood. Tickets are $10 (get them here), which is cheaper than anything you’ll eat at either chef’s spots. Proceeds from this performance will help a friend and fellow Union manager recently diagnosed with cancer cover medical costs for her treatment (find more info on their Gofundme page). As for when they’ll play next, Kalman says as much as they can. “It just all depends on our busy schedules.” Rock and roll, people. Rock. And. Roll.

LAM_FoieGrock

 

 

LA Mag Highlights “Preserving Summer”

Check out this LA Magazine feature on my upcoming cooking class “Preserving Summer” with Hedy Goldsmith which is happening tomorrow (9/24). Seats are still available. Click here to reserve today!

Preserve the Best of Summer with Bruce Kalman and Hedy Goldsmith

The chefs will demonstrate techniques for preparing and jarring their signature dishes to benefit Common Threads
September 22, 2015  — Valentina Silva 

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“I wish that I grew up in a household where I was taught nutrition and basic cooking technique,” says Bruce Kalman.

The chef, who opened Union in Pasadena last year and is set to debut Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market in Grand Central Market later this year, is making up for lost time by schooling a new generation on food-savvy practices through Common Threads. The organization, which currently operates in Chicago, Washington D.C., Miami, and here in Los Angeles, provides hands-on cooking classes from professional chefs to low-income children and their families with the aim of helping to foster healthier lifestyles in underserved communities.

“I believe that teaching the next generation back-to-basics food preparation—pickling, canning, etc.—and equipping them with fundamental skills makes cooking fun and not so intimidating,” says Kalman. “Ultimately, organizations like Common Threads are so important because they provide a platform for chefs like myself to educate kids on sustainability and how to make the best use of what is available to them and waste nothing.”

This Thursday, the rest of us can get in on the learning, too. Kalman, along with James Beard Awards-nominated pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith (formerly of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami) and Common Threads instructor/ambassador Chef Lovely, will be hosting a class called Preserving Summer. Putting the focus on reducing food waste and increasing nutrition, the one-night course will cover simple pasta sauce preparation and jarring. Plus—and if you’ve ever had it then you know this is big—a demo on how to make Kalman’s delicious pickled giardiniere. Goldsmith will show guests how to pickle stone fruit as well as make a strawberry basil consommé and meyer lemon confit.

Even better is that attendees will get to enjoy the sauce served with Kalman’s housemade spelt cavatelli, giardiniere with fresh bread and butter, and all of Goldsmith’s desserts.

Tickets are $90. All proceeds go to Common Threads.

Preserving Summer will take place this Thursday, September 24 at New School of Cooking, 8690 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, 310-842-9702. Class begins at 6:30 pm. Register online at www.newschoolofcooking.com.

 

PlateOnline.com Interview

Thank you to PlateOnline.com for their recent interview.  It was an honor to be named 1 of 30 chefs to watch. Enjoy their full feature at this link or read the article in its entirety below.

Chef To Watch: Bruce Kalman, Union

(Bruce Kalman, photo Marie Buck)

Bruce Kalman is having the time of his life, and you can feel it in the food he creates at Union, his restaurant in downtown Pasadena that is attracting people back to this once-forgotten community. He’s cooking his heart out, with each plate of albacore crudo with housemade spicy pickled lemon cucumbers; each pork meatball bright with capers and chilies; each bowl of housemade squid ink garganelli tossed with lobster, truffle butter and Meyer lemon; each tray of donut peaches gilded with lardo and honey. He’s offering up his soul and presenting it to guests on every plate. And like the omnivores they are, diners at this packed restaurant are devouring not just the food but the whole package.

“I’m 44 years old, and for the first time in my life, I’m cooking my food,” Kalman says about the transformation in his cooking since opening Union with business partner Marie Petulla. My chef friends are like, “This is unadulterated you.”

Maybe that’s what it is, that Kalman is doing his own thing instead of following someone else’s vision. His enthusiasm was certainly there when he cooked at Chicago’s Okno, and at The Churchill in West Hollywood. His creativity exploded when he founded his own “vine to jar” pickle company. But something is different now.

“Being a chef/owner, and having that opportunity and freedom to cook what I want, has made all the difference to me,” Kalman says. “I’m a very straight-up, honest person; I believe you should stand up for what you believe in, and stick with it. If you’re passionate about it, other people will be, too. Without the distractions, your creative ability changes, and you become this much more inspiring leader, and much less frustrated. I care what people think—my partners, my managers, my staff, the guests. I’m much better at taking constructive criticism than I was in the past. Because of those factors, I’m cooking better than I ever have.” 

And so, he’s inspiring his cooks (all 20 of whom are name-checked at the bottom of each menu) to cook thoughtfully, and reduce waste as much as possible. Under his guidance, the team at Union is figuring out how to use seeds, stems, roots, leaves and cores in their cooking, from dehydrated toasted seeds to fennel-top sorbet. 

“Respecting the ingredients plays a really big part in what I’m doing,” Kalman says. “A head of fennel deserves the same respect as a pig. Someone put in the time to plant the seed, take care of it, to harvest it. We’re constantly challenging ourselves with what we can do, looking at everything we get in and how can we use every part of it. It’s cool and fun to play with it. The whole thing is edible; it’s just how you treat it.”

That success has followed all this positive juju is not surprising. Kalman and Petulla are opening a fresh pasta stand in the Grand Central Market in downtown L.A. and have an eye out for other projects. 

“I’m cooking things that I never cooked before and having fun,” Kalman says. “If you’re happier, you cook better food. I’m my own chef. It’s all-around great. It’s just fucking great.” 

Chandra Ram Q&A


Albacore crudo with housemade spicy pickled lemon cucumbers

What was the first dish you ever made?

I think it was chopped liver with my grandmother; I remember grinding hard-boiled eggs, liver and onions. I still have that meat grinder.

What is your pet peeve in the kitchen?

I have a few. When people don’t care—when they go through the motions, and it’s a job, instead of them being passionate and excited about things and getting involved. I tell my cooks to do everything with a purpose. And I don’t like fussy food, or people who communicate poorly. And I can’t stand dirty cooks—they make me crazy.

What career would you have if you weren’t a chef?

I would be a rock star. Or trying to be a rock star – I play guitar.

Who is your dream dinner guest, and what would you cook?

Probably the Foo Fighters. I would serve them three pasta courses, and then the braised pork neck. [Ed note: I am so going to this dinner.]

What restaurant is your dream stage location and why?

I’d go to Vetri, because I respect Marc Vetri so much for his food and what he’s about. His food is insanely delicious. I want to go there and get inside his head.

What is the next cooking challenge or technique you want to try?

All I can think about right now is the new pasta machine, for Knead & Co., the pasta stand we are opening in Grand Central Market. We’re honing on past on a regional level and diving into how dishes came to be, historically. How all the old classics came about – mostly out of necessity because they didn’t have refrigeration. Now, we put ingredients together because they work, but going back and understanding how it happened is important. Being back to basics what I’ve always done, but I think it is the next molecular gastronomy. I continue to simplify and hone what I do.

What meal changed how you feel about food?

It was eating at Lincoln, Jenn Louis’ place in Portland, Ore. Her corned lamb neck dish is ridiculous. She cooks like I do. The first time I ate there, it solidified for me how powerful that is, to really view a similar situation and chef from a guest perspective, without the nit-picking I do when I’m in my own restaurant. I feel her passion for the food. It inspires me.

Also, Girl and the Goat. Stephanie Izard deserves every award and honor she’s gotten. The food blew me away, and for it to be that crowded five years after she opened says a lot about what she’s doing.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?

Denzel Washington.

What three words describe you best?

Dedicated. Thoughtful. Passionate. Trustworthy.

“Preserving Summer” cooking class

 

 

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Join me and Hedy Goldsmith for a very special cooking class where we’ll teach you how to use your food scraps to can, preserve and pickle.


From www.commonthreads.org
:

Common Threads presents Preserving Summer with Bruce Kalman and Hedy Goldsmith, a recreational cooking class hosted at New School of Cooking, 8690 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232, on Thursday, September 24th starting at 6:45pm.

Bruce Kalman will share how to preserve the best of summer and minimize food waste by making and jarring a simple pasta sauce with ripe tomatoes. Additionally he’ll do a quick pickling demo. Guests will enjoy his handmade spelt cavatelli with the pasta sauce, and his giardinere pickles with bread and cultured butter. Hedy Goldsmith will demo a panna cotta dessert with preserved fruit and candied lemon again demonstrating how to minimize food waste.

Tickets Cost $90/person, CLICK HERE to purchase. Class size is limited to 30 people.

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I’m talking food scraps with Rodale’s

Thank you, Rodalesorganiclife.com for your feature on how to use food scraps in the kitchen. I’ve got a tip at #4. You can read the full article at this link or below.

8 Homesteader Recipes That Make The Most Of Food Scraps

Incredible edibles you’ve been throwing out or adding to the compost pile might just belong on the dinner table.

AUGUST 17, 2015

PHOTOGRAPH BY PAULO SIMAO/EYEEM/GETTY

We strive for a diet packed with fresh organic fruits and vegetables, but there’s just one problem—what to do with all the leaves, stems, and leftover bits to avoid unnecessary waste and an overflowing compost bin? We’re taking a cue from efficient homesteaders and nose-to-tail cooking about how to reuse the castoffs.

Onion Skins

PHOTOGRAPH BY STEFANIE GREWEL/GETTY

They’re great for veggie stock, but they’re a surprise ingredient for a pungent tea and are rich in antioxidants such as quercetin. Simply steep the skins of an onion in boiling water or a tea baller for a few minutes, bearing in mind that the longer they sit, the more assertive the tea will become.

Cantaloupe Seeds

PHOTOGRAPH BY OTMAR WINTERLEITNER/GETTYSave your cantaloupe seeds and that goopy stuff around them called “the mesh,” and throw them in a smoothie for an extra dose of fiber and protein.

Pickle Juice

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There’s no need to throw away a jar of pickle juice once you’ve eaten all the cukes. Just do as Molly Siegler, culinary content editor for Whole Foods Markets does, and store blanched veggies or hard-boiled eggs in the pickling liquid.

  • Fennel Fronds

    PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIAN YARVIN/GETTY

    Fennel is so flowery and showy, but we typically only use the bulb part. Add the fronds to a flower arrangement, or steep them in hot water for a mild anise-flavored tea. Chef Bruce Kalman of Union in Pasadena turns fennel fronds into sorbet. Start by juicing the fronds—you’ll want 2 cups of liquid. Then mix the juice with 2 cups of simple syrup and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine, or turn it into a granita by freezing in a shallow container (stirring with a fork every hour, fluffing once it starts to freeze). Kalman finishes it off with a pinch of flaky sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.

  • Herb Stems

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    Cookbook author Dina Cheney likes to grind up the stems of dehydrated herbs (such as cilantro, basil, or mint) in a coffee grinder. She then adds them to salt or sugar in a ratio of 1-to-4 (herbs to salt or sugar) to create a finishing seasoning, which can be sprinkled on both sweet and savory dishes.

    Watermelon Rinds

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    Pickle them. Slice off all the pink fruit and pickle the green rinds using your favorite recipe or try this one for starters.

    Cherry Pits

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    Cherry pits can add a new, nutty dimension to ice cream. Pastry chef Diana Valenzuela of Elan in New York City smashes the pits with a meat mallet, picks through the pits for the kernels, and then toasts them in the oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes. She then pulverizes 2 tablespoons of cherry pits with 1 cup of organic cane sugar to a fine dust and sprinkles over ice cream.

    Fruit Scraps

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    If you can or jam, you likely produce a great deal of discarded skins. Instead, you can ferment peach, plum, apple, or apricot skins (fermenting is a long process; try this recipe) and use the resulting vinegar as a tonic with seltzer (like an old-fashioned shrub), as a marinade, or in a salad dressing.